Google Now Manually Reviews Play Store Submissions, Approval Times Still Faster Than App Store
Google on Tuesday announced two changes to the Play Store that it hopes will result in an improved experience for both developers and users. The first is a new review process where apps submitted for approval are manually reviewed by a team of employees at Google before the software is published on the Play Store. Google claims it began manually reviewing apps several months ago, with no noticeable change in approval times during the rollout.
The move to human reviewers marks a significant change for the Play Store, as the ability for developers to have apps go through a quick and automatic review process was a major differentiating factor over Apple's tedious review process for the App Store on iPhone and iPad. Nevertheless, Google says it will continue to help developers get their apps published on the Play Store within hours of submission, rather than days or weeks.
Apple has been rather controlling and inconsistent at times in regards to enforcing its App Store review guidelines over the years. Last month, for example, the iPhone maker began rejecting apps with violent screenshots for infringing upon a long-standing review guideline. Developers also face long waits with Apple, as the average approval times for apps are roughly six days for the App Store and seven days for the Mac App Store.
The second improvement is the introduction of an age-based rating system for apps and games on the Play Store, based on official rating authorities such as the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) in the United States, Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) in Europe and Classification Board in Australia. Territories with no specific rating authority will display age-based, generic ratings for apps.
"Today we’re introducing a new age-based rating system for apps and games on Google Play. We know that people in different countries have different ideas about what content is appropriate for kids, teens and adults, so today’s announcement will help developers better label their apps for the right audience. Consistent with industry best practices, this change will give developers an easy way to communicate familiar and locally relevant content ratings to their users and help improve app discovery and engagement by letting people choose content that is right for them."
Google encourages developers to visit the Developer Console and fill out a content rating questionnaire to ensure that their apps remain available on the Play Store. Apps without a completed questionnaire will be listed as unrated and, starting in May, all apps and updates submitted to the Play Store will require a completed questionnaire before being published on the Play Store.